In this post we will look at the most important factors you need to consider when developing a social media policy for your business.
1. Have a social media strategy. How is social media going to be used for your business?
- Brand/Product promotion
- Customer service
- Lead generation
- Driving web traffic
2. Are you going to have a strict or relaxed approach to social media? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both approaches:
- Allows employees to express themselves
- Promotes creativity
- Develop closer, more personal relationship with customers
- Promotes sharing of expertise
- Not everyone uses common sense
- Inappropriate sharing, proprietary info disclosed, other employees undermined, misrepresented
- Negative impact on company brand if it goes wrong (think viral potential of social media)
- Minimises company exposure to proprietary, copyrighted, sensitive and confidential info being shared
- Protects employees from inappropriate behaviour on the part of others
- Creates understanding on what is acceptable/not acceptable
- Ensures more consistency in behaviour, communications
- Stifles creativity, passion, sharing of expertise
- Big Brother syndrome
- Employees can feel they are treated like juveniles
- Losing out on the benefits of social media
For further reading, here’s a good article on why your employees are your best social media advocates.
3. Very importantly, clarify what your social media policy applies to. For example it could apply to:
- All blogs, social networks, forums hosted or sponsored by the Company
- Employee postings regarding company’s business, products, employees, partners,competitors on:
- personal or external blogs/websites, forums, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, video or picture sharing networks.
4. Specify who owns what:
- The ownership of Company blogs, Facebook/Twitter accounts etc. belongs to the company, and NOT the employees whose current responsibilities include posting to and monitoring these accounts.
5. Confidential and Proprietary Information
- Specify that employees never share any confidential or proprietary information using social media – either publicly or privately.
- The privacy rights of other employees and customers must be protected
- If an employee owns a web site, blog or Twitter account and intends to mention the company and / or current and potential products, employees, partners, customers, and competitors, he/she must:
- identify that he/she is an employee of the company and that the views expressed are personal and do not represent the views of the company
- Commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous can lead to disciplinary action or legal action from employees, competitors and others.
6. Decide on Who is responsible for managing, participating in Social Media
- Who is most suited to dealing with customer service issues, product promotion, general enquiries, PR etc.
7. Monitor Social Media
- See what is being said about your company, products, employees
- Many free tools available
- Google Alerts
- Social Mention
8. Provide Training
- Make training available for those who want to participate
- Provides employees with a better understanding of the various social networks, how best they can be used, potential pitfalls etc.